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Intensive reading and writing project set up for Covid lockdown to be expanded to 2,000 more Welsh students

28 Apr 2022 3 minute read
Reading at school. Picture by the Welsh Government

A project that supported over 500 children to improve their language, communication and reading skills during lockdown hopes to help up to 2,000 more across Wales, with an additional £290,000 from the Welsh Government.

The Remote Instruction of Language and Literacy (RILL) project, led by Bangor University, provides 7-11-year-olds with an intensive and interactive ten-week language and literacy programme in Welsh or English, either in or out of the classroom.

Launched following the introduction of restrictions in April 2020 to stop the spread of Coronavirus, RILL will be expanded to help improve the literacy skills of learners in Wales.

This will include rolling the project out to more schools, expanding the project in Welsh and providing extra lessons for children and parents to learn together at home.

Bangor University are working with the north of Wales school improvement service, GwE, to develop RILL Cymraeg. The bespoke Welsh-language version focuses on building Welsh vocabulary and transferable literacy skills. 33 schools in north Wales have been involved in the project.

Jeremy Miles, Minister for Education and Welsh Language said: “Language, communication and reading skills form the foundations of all learning. Developed here in Wales with a unique focus on both Welsh and English, the RILL programme will be able to help learners improve their skills following the pandemic.

“I look forward to seeing the results of this innovative project.”

‘How we learn’

RILL helped children maintain literacy skills during Covid-19 period. As schools recover, funding for RILL will help support learners and teachers to improve language, communication and reading skills, the researchers said.

The programme’s lead researchers, Dr Manon Jones of Bangor University and Dr Cameron Downing of Leeds Trinity University, added: “We’re delighted to be working with the Welsh Government to further develop and scale our Literacy programme.

“This project will build on the existing collaborative partnership between GwE and Bangor University in using research to improve educational outcomes for learners.

“At its core, the RILL programme is based on our theoretical and empirical understanding of how we learn to read and spell and the RILL Cymraeg programme – developed in collaboration with GwE – has been specifically designed for the Welsh language. This really sets it apart from other Welsh literacy programmes.

“This funding will allow us to work with schools and teachers across Wales to further develop, deliver, and rigorously evaluate the programme. We hope our programme will support teachers and learners to boost literacy skills in Wales.”

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